She's hot, fun, and a great conversationalist on OKCupid. She really wants to meet you in person, but she's between jobs and she can't afford the $300 ticket to New York. No problem—you can just send her the money for travel. Also, she needs a little help with her rent and loves this handbag. Unfortunately, she doesn't exist.
It works because ... "Loneliness trumps common sense every single time," says Siciliano. "People make bad, bad decisions when they're lonely." And these scammers aren't stupid, either—they've been working the online dating sites for long enough that they know exactly what to say to make you fall in love with their online personalities.
Don't get scammed: Not too long ago, advice regarding online dating sites and scams amounted to: Don't do it. But today, meeting people online isn't weird. You don't need to avoid online dating altogether, just be smart about it. "The moment you have to lay down cash for someone you've never met, that's a scam," Siciliano says.
6. The Kidnapping Scam
A desperate email, phone call, or Facebook message that says your friend/daughter/wife/work colleague has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. If you don't wire the cash to the kidnappers within an hour, your buddy is dead.
It works because ... It scares the crap out of you. If it's a phone call, it's usually ill-timed—say at 2 a.m.—to further disorient you.
Don't get scammed: First, don't try to be Liam Neeson or negotiate with terrorists. Second, recognize that you're getting emotional and don't make any rash decisions. Easier said than done, but there are some rational things you can do to help. Try to contact your friend/family member via another form of communication. Something as simple as a phone call or text to a friend who is supposedly being held hostage in Thailand can ease your fears.
Con artists often take advantage of tragedies. Think of the Sandy Hook shootings, the Boston Marathon bombings, or the Japan earthquake. Cons will appear in your inbox as charity solicitations: Just click on a link to donate money to a charity that will help the victims. You click, and you're taken to a website that opens a bunch of pop-ups or asks you for money.
It works because ... Like most scams, this one plays on your emotions. You're a good person, and you want to help the victims of tragedies. Plus, it's a current event, so it somehow seems less like a scam.
Don't get scammed: The best way to avoid this is to go directly to the source. Don't trust links in emails—go to the advertised charity and donate on their website, where it's simple to contribute. Disaster relief scams are so common that the Department of Justice evenhas a page dedicated to avoiding them.
8. And yes ...The Nigerian Prince Scam
You get an email from a Nigerian Prince—or other international royalty—who is about to come into an impressive inheritance. He has to leave the country and needs somebody (that's you!) to hold their money in an offshore account. If you pay a nominal fee, they'll give you half of it. No brainer, right?
It works because ... Honestly, this scam doesn't work on about 99.9 percent of the population. When these emails hit your inbox, they're often full of misspellings, bad formatting, and broken English. But that's actually a tactic, says Martin Weiss, owner of private IT security consulting firm Vulnio. "The incompetence is on purpose—it helps narrow down the 'mark,' " he says. "Those who respond are more likely to take things to the finish line."
Don't get scammed: Most people don't have to worry about falling for this type of scam. But just in case, remember: You should never wire money to someone you do not know. (menshealth)